Friday, September 3, 2010


I have decided that I really enjoy taking pictures of my garden. Mainly, I like photographing flowers or anything with a pop of color or texture. The next thought I have is to go back to my roots and paint some of these images. We'll see if I ever have time for that! Meanwhile, here are a few pics.

(Purple fountain grass, standing cypress, blue bonnet, purple cone flower and desert marigold)

I have also decided that I hate this web layout
program -- I need to learn how to do this stuff by scratch so I can actually get everything to look the way I would like it. Coming from a print layout background, this drives me crazy! So sorry that photos are all over the place. I am new at this web stuff. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Vegetable Demise

I'm not sure where I went wrong this year with my vegetable garden. I am guessing that the area doesn't get enough sun, yet it seemed to thrive last year. My second guess would be that I didn't amend the soil enough. While I used compost, I didn't really add anything else. My large tomato plant "Best Boy" yielded one tomato. The tomato was large, juicy and quite perfect. I got so excited for more and they never came. The plant instead decided to grow -- a lot. This tomato plant grew over 6 feet straight up. I have never had a plant so tall and so barren. I suppose it is one of those times when it has the nutrients to grow the leaves, not the fruit. My cherry tomato plant seemed to produce just fine, but the plant itself was a mess. I think it got taken over by spider mites. I tired spraying several times but it didn't seem to make a difference. The leaves were all curled and would turn brown. Yet, it didn't seem to stop the tomatoes from growing! I constantly cut the plant back and it would still grow and produce. It was a sad plant, but I guess it did its job. Maybe I will get it right next year.

My cucumber plant was also disappointing this year. While it had plenty of fruit, the cucumbers themselves were small and curved. They didn't produce the cucumbers until later in the Summer than usual and I'm not sure about that either. Now, my cucumber is holding on to life -- still producing cucumbers. The same thing happened last year in August. Aphids, white flies, etc. seem to take over the plant in August and no matter what I do, I can't win. Sadly, I have now given up on spraying it because I have the cutest Pray Mantis that lives on it. Did I just say, cute?

My strawberry plant had lots of fruit and is still flowering. The sad part is that all of the strawberries were small and sour. I'm pretty sure it needs more sun. The plant itself has done well, despite the dry spells. However, it seems to need a little water every day.

My pepper plant is loving this heat as long as it's watered. I have only gotten 2 peppers so far, but this plant is far from being done. It is still producing flowers. My basil has been a superstar as well. But that isn't surprising. Basil loves this heat. I have 2 varieties and they are so happy they have reseeded everywhere! However, I am surprised that my cilantro has held on all Summer because it doesn't like heat. It doesn't look great, but it is still alive.

Lastly, I have 2 varieties of oregano that seems to be the easiest plant to grow. It gets leggy, but just cut it back and it comes back like gang busters! Oh, and thyme, too -- doing great. The only herb that didn't make it was my parsley which is sad because it is a host plant for the black swallowtail butterfly.

I am getting to the point where I look forward to pulling everything out and starting over (well, not everything). I would really like to try a new spot for the veggies and herbs next year but I seem to be running out of room. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer 2010 pictures & Mini Update

So it has been a long time since I have posted. I guess this blog thing is harder than I thought. I spend so much time working in the yard, I don't have time to post and write! Here are a few pictures of the flowers, butterflies and "pet" spider in my garden. It is hard to believe that the Summer is nearing the end. Everything is in full bloom, though my tomato plants have given up and I have lost a few plants along the way (one winecup). My Zinnias are nearly as pretty as last year. I have the "small"ones but they are almost as tall! It seems just the flower size is mini. I need to find a better place for them next year. My favorite new plant of 2010 would be one I can't remember the name! It's the one with all of the butterflies on it. I have never had so many butterflies in my garden and I love it. The only down side is that this plant grows very fast and has taken over a large part of the garden (I have 2). I will post larger pictures soon, of the whole yard. I guess the best part of 2010 Summer is that we have had rain. So here we are in August and our grass is still alive! It also means I have been fighting disease and bugs that much more. Our Bur oak is happy, even the Crape Myrtles have grown 6 feet. However, it's all a work in progress. Until next time!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Working hard

So I am still working hard to get all of those damn elm seeds out of everything! I have cleaned out a majority of the flower beds and keeping an eye out for new growth. Here is a list of how my plants are doing as of today March 20th:

Bur Oak -- no new growth yet
Lantana -- while the Lantana didn't die down completely last year, this Winter it looked as though it would not come back -- yet I finally see green leaves appearing from the ground. None of the new growth is off of the old wood
Blackfoot Daisy -- I was excited to plant this native plant last year and it is apparently evergreen. Both of mine have disappeared this Winter and I see no signs of it coming back
Damianita -- This is an evergreen plant that reminds me of rosemary but it gets yellow daisy-like flowers. It did great through the Winter and seems to be slowly growing
Yellow Bells -- My yellow Bells were one of my favorite plants last Summer. I couldn't believe how fast they grew and how wet or dry they did great. Nothing seems to faze them. But the first freeze we had all of the leaves turned black. I haven't seen any new growth since.
Gayfeather -- while this plant didn't seem to do very well last year, I am thinking I may have just planted it late. It has come back twice the size! Too bad I only have one.
Gaura -- This plant while it is not evergreen made it through most of the Winter. In fact, while it looked sad, it never died back completely. Now it is coming back full force and has reseeded itself as well.
Penstemon -- I have 3 different kinds and none did very well when first planted last year. They didn't quite die either. But now they seem to really be taking off. I am guessing it is because we are finally getting the rain we need. I am looking forward to actually seeing flowers this year.
Purple Coneflowers -- surprisingly, while many of the leaves turned brown, the 2 coneflowers I have remained partially green throughout the Winter. Now they are putting up stalks of flowers. Love it.
Sage -- I have tons of different kinds of sage. They all do great here in Texas. Many are evergreen, which is nice. And the others are already coming back quickly. The evergreen ones are putting up flowers now
Ruellia -- I have both the dwarf and the large variety. They are both starting to come back. I can see why they say the larger ones are invasive. I have just one and green leaves are coming up from the ground over a 4 foot area. Looked great last Summer so I will only pull back a little.
Rock Rose -- I love this plant other than the fact that it gets mildew. As long as you stay on top of it and spray it -- make sure it has a drip system, not a sprinkler, this looks good most of the time. It reseeds easily too so I transplanted to many areas. Not many plants do well in sun and shade both
Skullcap -- what a name. I have 3 and 2 of the 3 made it through the Winter. I don't know why the other one died since they are evergreen. Waiting to see those flowers
Winecup -- I planted 2 last year and never saw flowers. So I am hoping to see some this Spring. They both died down to a small clump of leaves and seem to be growing back well.
Mexican Feather grass -- so I love this grass. It looks good all Summer and Winter. I love the feathery movement of the grass. The one thing I didn't realize is how much it reseeds. I have little grasses everywhere! Oh well, lots to give away to friends for free and transplant to other areas of the garden.
Big Mully -- I only have one and wish I had room for more -- mine got quite big and looked great in the Summer and Fall. It never turned completely brown -- always had some green
I also have the gulf Mully which is beautiful in the Fall.

Well, this is a list of just some of my plants. I do have annuals that made it through the Winter -- my Dianthus and Verbena. In fact, my Dianthus bloomed all Winter! I look forward to watching my garden bloom and grow. I also have a vegetable garden as well. I know I need to post pictures so we can see progress!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring is ON!!

So after the coldest Winter I have endured here in Austin, Spring is finally here. My garden of sticks, leaves and dirt is transforming. Green is pushing up from the earth everywhere. It is an exciting time for me as I'm not sure which plants have survived freeze after freeze. Last year I still had green in the yard, this year it snowed! 

I am working hard to get ahead of the heat. I am adding dirt to the garden, planting annuals, planting seeds for the veggie garden and adding mulch. I am hopeful that the garden will come back in full force since the drought is over. The big thing is staying ahead of the weeds. I have Elm seeds so thick it looks like grass! There is a lot of work to be done, but I am excited. I need to take a picture of the yard as it is now so we can really see how things progress. It's raining today, so not much I can do. But I'll be back out there as soon as I can!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


So this month has just flown by! I can't believe how much rain we have gotten and how it has effected my garden. I still have some of my Zinnas, though most have some powdery mildew. My Mexican Petunia (Ruellia) has doubled in size and is about 4 ft. wide and 3 ft. all tall! My Mealy Blue Sage has gotten pretty large, but can't manage to stand straight up and is sprawling along the ground. It seems quite happy that way. I have only one Pink Muhly grass which looks just amazing with its pink plumes. I will definitely be buying more for next year. The Rock Rose I transplanted loves its new shady spot. And with the cooler weather, is thriving. Of course my Yellow Bells are excelling. While I don't really like yellow, this wonderful drought-tolerant plant has quickly become my favorite. Drought or rain, this fast-growing shrub looks perfect all of the time. It has almost reached the top of our fence. Another plant, I will need to buy more of.

While I can go on and on about all of my plants, I will take a break here. The weather has dried up a little and the temperatures have cooled. We will see what the next stage this Texas garden has to offer me. For now, I have plenty of weeding to do!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rain and more rain

I don't think my garden knows quite what to do with all of this rain. Yes, there are many of my plants that very excited about all of this moisture. However, there are some of my plants that are suffering. I never thought rain would be a bad thing. But considering the fact that the Summer has been so dry, this is a shock!

My favorite Zinnias are coming to an end. They were already struggling with rusty mildew (my fault for planting them too close together). But they have also gotten very leggy and some are taller than I am. I have sadly pulled out about 6 so far. I also had a wonderful Hibiscus in a pot that turned yellow from all of the rain. I was hoping it would dry out and it was starting to look a little better until the rain returned again yesterday. I have mushrooms popping up everywhere, which can't be good. Also, I have 2 huge fountain grasses that have completely fallen over due to the rain. They were about 6 feet tall. Of course they are now leaning on some of the other plants. I have tried staking them but the weight is just too much. I might have to cut them down if it continues to rain. My Verbena are also suffering with all of this rain. They have powdery mildew. I am planning o pulling them out soon.

There are, luckily, a couple of super-stars in my garden. The Vincas (Periwinkle) are fantastic annuals here in Texas. They do great in the heat and seem to be unfazed by the rain. I have 5 white ones that are just huge! They surround the front of my Bur Oak. I will be sad to see them die in the Winter. Yellow Bells are also wonderful. I only have one and I plan on getting more next year. It looks great all of the time.